Monday, March 31, 2008

Just Chillin'

Sparky finds the most unconventional places to get some shuteye. Here he is on the first step of the stairs with his head resting on my tennis shoes. Even stranger is that he let me walk to another room and return with the camera to snap the picture, without budging an inch.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

FNL Update

Last month I joined one of those “Save Friday Night Lights” campaigns, mailing a miniature football to Ben Silverman at NBC. One week later it was punted back to me with the word “REFUSED” written on the box. At that point, I lost all hope. The word REFUSED said more to me than “Take your stupid box and shove it.” It was saying “We don’t believe in the stupid show, so take your foolish efforts and shove it. If you refuse to submit to watching 30 Rock as we suggested, then we have no use for you and your laughable taste.” Yeah, they might as well have said all that on the box.

I miss this show in the worst way, so I went googling and found a blog by Nikki Finke which addressed the precariousness of FNL, season 3. She writes a Hollywood and media business column for LA Weekly and owns, edits, and publishes a blog called Deadline Hollywood Daily. The following sentence made me jump for joy: I CAN REPORT THAT THE THIRD SEASON IS SAVED. The post in its entirety may be found here.

Hallelujah! Apparently, it took a partnership with DirecTV to rescue it: The answer came in a deal with DirecTV, now owned by John Malone's Liberty Media. Clearly Malone is looking to distinguish DirecTV from its rivals on a content as well as price basis. "It's an innovative deal where NBC found a partner who will share costs and exhibition windows," an insider explained to me. So both NBC and DirecTV will be airing Friday Night Lights across multipurpose platforms.

I don’t really understand what multipurpose platforms or exhibition windows signify, nor do I care what depths they had to go to. It’s SAVED! All is well in my TV watching world again.

We Cry - The Script

This is an Irish trio from Dublin. Surprisingly, I like this song with its boy band-y sound. I guess I no longer have hard and fast rules about what I will listen to. Wonder when that happened?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Trip Update

The trip to Louisiana went extremely well for the most part. The drive over was highly enjoyable with my wonderful daughter and the perfect driving music she organized beforehand. In fact, it was going just a little too good.

We arrived at my mother's about 5:00 last Wednesday. As soon as she opened the door to greet us my phone rang and I saw that it was my son. Already feeling that something was dreadfully wrong from our short conversation the night before, I went ahead and answered while giving my mom a hug at the same time. I could tell immediately from his voice that my instinct was correct. He broke down and said he was getting a divorce. Oh, my! I just drove 500 miles away from my son who needs me! He tried to be strong at first I could tell, but the emotions eventually poured out in the form of gut-wrenching sobs. I am a complete blubbering idiot when others cry; especially where my children are concerned. All I could do was cry along with him. Soon my daughter became upset, as well as my mother. The rest of the night was consumed with shock and anguish over our latest family ordeal. We made a few phone calls to ensure that Michael was looked after for the evening and went to bed. None of us slept very well.

The next day there was hardly time to think. Autumn and I helped Mama get her new TV purchased and set up, which meant a trip to Best Buy, running all over town looking for a traditional looking console to place it on and a trip to the cable company to get the HD box. Thank God Uncle Bubba just happened to come over that afternoon with flowers for the graves because he helped us secure the new console to the wall so that it wouldn't topple over. We would have been unable to set up the TV without his help.

Friday was Mama’s doctor appointment. I loved Dr. Kadair straight away. He had a very calm, confident aura that put me at ease instantly. Autumn felt the same. Mama wasn’t convinced as quickly, but by the end of the visit, she was smitten. Already he has made a difference by changing the order in which she takes her medication. Dr. Jones - the previous doctor who almost killed her twice - was insisting that Mama take her thyroid medication first thing in the morning. She had to wait one hour before taking the Parkinson’s medication. This meant that she could hardly move to go to the bathroom or anything for at least 2 hours after waking up. It really was becoming a dangerous situation. Dr. Kadair pointed out that her major problem was Parkinson’s and the Parkinson’s medication should be the FIRST thing she puts in her mouth in the morning. The thyroid medication should be taken at night. She tried the rotation the next morning and voila! Within 30 minutes she was up and walking around without her walker.

Autumn and I got to spend some time photographing areas around LSU, Baton Rouge, St. Gabriel and Sunshine. We both took some really great photos. It's something that I can see myself doing as a hobby. It would be fun to do it with my daughter, since she has a flair for photography, too. That part of the trip was inspiring and took our minds off more pressing matters for a while.

On Saturday we visited with tons of family and visited the gravesites of our grandparents and my sister. I don't think we wasted one single minute while there. The only regret I have is that we were unable to cook fresh food for Mama. There just wasn't time! And with so many fine restaurants nearby, it was too tempting to eat out. Only one meal we regretted, but not because it wasn't good, it was just too much! Weirdly, too much of a good thing can be bad. Who knew?

Another death, sort of....

She called me "mother-in-love"; I in turn called her "daughter-in-love". Even though the charming phrase was her idea, I thought it accurately described how I truly felt about her. All the possibilities, all the planning for the future, so swiftly erased before any of us had a chance to react. As my husband observed, it took almost a year to plan the wedding and less than a week to arrange the details to dissolve it. Nearly seven years of togetherness that I had hoped would defy statistics.

Part of me wants to know every detail, when it all started, and why it happened, yet it's probably better that I don't know. Swirling around this hurricane of emotions inside my head, I know that at some point I will miss the girl that was so much a part of our lives. There is no real closure there for me, unless I decide to pick up the phone and call her eventually. Before I do that, I have to decide what I am really trying to accomplish since opening a dialogue with her might very well do more harm than good.

From my family’s perspective, it seemed they had a typical relationship, with the same ups and downs as everyone else. If anything was against them, it was probably youth and immaturity. Somehow I thought they would rise above it, even though my instincts were telling me otherwise. There was a definite strain, an unmistakable awkwardness during the last few visits. I wanted those nagging feelings to be wrong more than anything.

As the news continues to sink in, I have experienced everything from anger to sadness to grief to regret. I am left wondering what I did or didn't do that may have contributed in even the slightest way to the demise of their relationship. Maybe I wasn’t entertaining enough. Perhaps I didn't make her feel completely at ease in our home. Possibly our family wasn’t good enough. Those thoughts make me incredibly sad.

The worst part is the anguish my son is going through and the fact that he concealed his misery for so long. What a noble son, trying to spare us his problems while shielding his wife from any backlash that might develop if we knew. He must’ve thought there was hope for them at some point along the way.

Regardless of the particulars, our family sticks together. We will close ranks and rally around our loving boy, supporting him however we can. He seems anxiously eager to start his new life and we will all be there for him. I know that he will emerge from this a more mature man; wiser, stronger, and more resilient. He is deeply loved and respected more than he might know.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Here We Come Baton Rouge

My daughter and I will be traveling to Louisiana next week to see my mother. The highlights will be to purchase a new flat screen TV for Mama, along with a console for it, a visit to Mama’s new doctor, and Easter dinner with The Godfather and his family. We also have to prepare Mama’s living room for the addition of the TV, which will require emptying the ginormous bookcase, packing away all the knick-knacks, and moving it out of the room until her laundry lady, Mary Lou, can take it. I’m sure the console will require some assembly with directions that have been poorly translated to English. We have 3 days to accomplish all of this because 2 days will be spent driving. One day there and one day back. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

Speaking of the drive: I DETEST the grueling 7 hours trapped inside the car. The only saving grace will be Autumn, whose responsibility it is to keep me from committing hari-kari with the nearest sharp object. She doesn’t know this is her job yet, but she has a good head-start by creating a music playlist on her iPod with some really cool tunes. Hopefully, this will distract us from the mind-numbing, arduous trip.

Twice a year for 25 years I have driven to Louisiana since moving to Texas and it’s not getting any easier. Well, that’s not true. In the early days, I-49 was not built, which resulted in a 10 hour journey, usually with 3 restless kids in the back seat. Because of the absence of a freeway between Alexandria and Baton Rouge, it was necessary to pass through several small towns notorious for speed traps. There were also a considerable number of bridges to cross, sans shoulders, which was truly frightening, especially when it rains like the heavens are on a mission to drown you in your automobile, following you relentlessly for miles. I’ll never forget one trip when my electric window was broken on the driver’s side and I had to hold it up with my left hand while being pelted by shards of rain passing through the small crack. Fun times.

When the kids were little, I always liked to challenge them to pronounce names of towns we passed through like Grosse Tete, Opelousas, Thibodaux, Livonia, Arnaudville, Tangipahoa, Coushatta, Fordoche, Lecompte, and Plaucheville. Did you know that Grosse Tete is French for “Big Head”? I still can find no logical explanation for that moniker. Do the people there have big heads? I don’t know because I have never seen or talked to anyone from there to know if they physically have large skulls or they have some sort of elitist attitude.

You might think that I am not looking forward to the trip, but that is not the case. Once I get there, I will enjoy my family, the lush scenery, and the Cajun food. If the drive doesn’t do me in, that is. I’m predicting it won’t since I have survived over 50 of them thus far. And my awesome daughter will be with me.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Bye, J

At 1:45PM today, an old tennis friend of mine passed away. Two hours before I received the news, I had gotten an email saying that she probably wouldn't make it past the weekend. J was such a fighter; I always thought she would end up kicking leukemia's ass.

J had a strong desire to be the best tennis captain ever. Her earnestness and micro managing could be a bit hard to deal with at times. For the longest, I ignored it because I simply wanted to enjoy the game. Plus, I felt J's strong points outweighed the other petty stuff. Yet for some reason, I often get pulled into sticky situations, which is why I find it difficult to be part of a group of women. Every single group I have been in, there has been some sort of conflict or back biting.

The beginning of the end of our friendship came after a hard fought 3 setter that we lost. The loss had nothing to do with it. It also didn't have anything to do with the unbearable temperature that day, which felt as though the flames of hell were just below the surface of the court. No, the defining moment came when she hit the opposing net person square in the chest with her ball and refused to apologize. That was J and that was how she liked to play. Unfortunately, I didn't share her philosophy on gamesmanship, so it was inevitable that we had to part ways. Despite her animosity towards her opponents, she really did have a deep passion for the game, and I always admired that. The passion, that is.

After the tournament from hell, I went home and downed several glasses of wine. That night, I received a phone call from one of the sweetest ladies on our team, begging me to step in and try to talk to J about another recent flap that was causing division within our team. Filled with wine and anger, I made the call. Wine can create a false sense of bravery, causing you to say things you wouldn't ordinarily say. Things you shouldn't say. I don't remember any of the conversation, but it didn't go well. Forever will I regret that phone call.

The next day she left me a playful voice message that we needed to discuss custody of the Playgirl magazine. On a dare from J and T, I purchased my first and only Playgirl because Brad Pitt was in the issue. We had so much naughty fun analyzing Brad Pitt's slightly out-of-focus, teeny weenie. I let her keep the mag because I was afraid to bring it home. She was more than happy to "share custody" with me. And that's the paradox. J could be incredibly fun and funny when she wasn't trying to win at tennis. That's the J I always loved and wanted to be around.

I never called her back about the Playgirl or anything else. I still feel terrible about it. We could have continued being friends if I had been more understanding, loving, and kind. There were many times I truly missed her friendship and wanted to share something with her, but my pride prevented me. At the urging of a friend, I visited her in the hospital last summer. I was so nervous, but it went better than I expected. I wanted to let her know that I held no ill will towards her and hoped that she felt the same. Although I didn't have the nerve to bring up the past, we were able to have a friendly conversation and a few laughs. Besides, when you're dealing with a deadly illness, everything else seems so unimportant. I do have many good memories of her and those will be the ones I'll remember the most. I only wish I could tell her that.